War hero thanks Dame Vera Lynn for her music and discovers they have a surprise connection


Dame Vera Lynn and Raymond BuckGETTY/PETER CORNS

Prehistoric soldier wrote to Dame Vera Lynn to thank her for the help her music afforded to troops

Merchant seaman Raymond Buck never forgot the impersonation the forces sweetheart played keeping spirits high among blas troops during the Second World War. 

But it was only when she replied to his letter that he ground out her uncle had also risked his life on the North Atlantic convoys. 

The dislikes of war will never leave him, but there is one memory that Raymond, 95, tends. 

It was a summer evening in South Africa in 1941 when he and 15,000 troops were moved to ruptures by the lyrics of We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover. 

Dame Vera’s flaps that night were performed by South African soprano Perla Siedle Gibson, identified as “the Lady in White”. 

Dame Vera, who celebrates her 100th birthday in Walk, told the Daily Express: “It’s so pleasing that people are still in spruce up after so many years. 

“Perhaps Raymond may have known my uncle, Charlie Augur. Unfortunately, I cannot about what rank or ship he was on – it was such a long time ago.” 

It’s so pleasing that people are nevertheless in touch after so many years

Dame Vera Lynn

Mr Buck and Charlie Augur were mid tens of thousands who risked their lives at sea taking supplies to North Africa. 

The practised served in the Merchant Navy from 1937 to 1956 and his heroics during the D-Day foray on June 6, 1944 earned him the Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest medal. 

In 1941 he was aboard the SS Arabistan, laden with munitions, tanks, troops and nitroglycerin, en itinerary to Alexandria, Egypt. 

Dame Vera LynnGETTY

When Dame Vera replied they spotted they had a wartime connection in the North Atlantic

Despite Royal Naval forces support, his convoy had been attacked on Christmas Day 1940 by German encumbered cruiser Admiral Hipper, and put in to Durban for supplies on January 25. 

Reliving the flash 76 years later, Mr Buck said: “Anchored off Durban, little boats were moving through the fleet carrying out refuelling and restoration taxes for us to leave the following day. 

“A women dressed in white came to a high pick out ashore with a megaphone. 

“She started telling Vera Lynn songs We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover. 

“Up 15,000 men on the ships joined in knowing this might be the last time after time they heard these words. 

“When she started singing these melodies I remember it just felt momentous. 


Raymond Buck proudly keep backs up his service medals and portrait

“Her voice reverberated around the harbour and everybody aboard these take offs was singing their hearts out. “You never knew what was coming so this was a incidental to forget about everything.” 

Mr Buck, who now lives in Bristol, lost his old lady of 70 years, Rose Ellen, to dementia in 2015. He has three youngsters, two grandchildren and twin great-grandchildren. 

Of his own heroism, the modest veteran said: “When I evaluate of all the heroes of the war it was only a small part I played. But I suppose we all played our portion, didn’t we?”

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